Dynamic Psychotherapy

Dynamic Psychotherapy is a Melbourne Psychology Practice with an ISTDP focus

What is Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP)?

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Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) is an active, focused form of therapy. First developed by Dr Habib Davanloo, it is an evidence-based therapy developed to understand and work through emotion. Central to ISTDP is supporting people to face feelings they have learned to avoid due to the anxiety that these feelings evoke.

In ISTDP, people identify defensive behaviours and thoughts they have been engaging in to push away their feelings. Not all defensive behaviours are negative. For example, exercise can be a defense that has positive benefits, despite sometimes functioning as a way of avoiding feelings. Defenses are learned as a tool for providing short-term relief and yet may be harmful in the longer term. And people only come to therapy because their defenses are also hurting them.

ISTDP supports people to face their avoided feelings, manage anxiety that arises as feelings arise, and to let go of negative defenses. Through ISTDP, people are able to be truer and fuller versions of themselves. They use their emotions to build healthier relationships, both with themselves and with others.

ISTDP is a present-focused therapy. Despite this, people’s current challenges are understood in the context of their attachment history. The experiential techniques of ISTDP are designed to support people in experiencing emotions and working through challenges. These interventions are based on the knowledge that intellectual conceptualisation of emotional and psychological difficulties is insufficient for long-lasting change. Therapeutically experiencing different ways of thinking, feeling and responding are crucial for change. Through ISTDP we aim to provide not only symptom resolution, but deep, transformational, and lasting change in the way we relate to ourselves and to others.

It takes many years to become a skilled ISTDP therapist. However, many therapists report that they notice a difference in the effectiveness of their work even early in their training. At Dynamic Psychotherapy each psychology has clinical psychology training and is either fully trained, or are undertaking training, in ISTDP.

What is Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP)?

Julie Cochrane

Julie Cochrane is Australia's leading expert in Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy. Julie started practising Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy in 1994 based upon David Malan’s teachings. She discovered ISTDP and Dr Habib Davanloo’s teachings in 1996, becoming Australia’s first practitioner of ISTDP. Julie has trained psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, psychotherapists, counsellors, and other mental health professionals from across Australia and many other countries including New Zealand, China, India, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Malaysia, Portugal, Turkey, and the USA have trained with, or are training with, ISTDP Australia. Julie is recognised as an ISTDP therapist, and as a teacher and supervisor of ISTDP, by The ISTDP Institute and by the International Experiential Dynamic Therapy Association (IEDTA).

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